There are many customs and traditions associated with New Year’s, but housecleaning tends to get overlooked since it isn’t very sexy. However, this week the quiz show “Wafu Sohonke” (“Head Family of Japanese Style”; TV Tokyo, Thurs., 9 p.m.) will look at New Year’s cleaning traditions in detail.
Since New Year’s housecleaning has religious overtones, the program will mainly visit Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to show how these facilities are spruced up. Removing a year’s worth of grime from a heavy bell or an intricately sculpted statue requires time and effort, not to mention special techniques. There are also rituals involved with cleaning these artifacts, and the priests and monks who perform them have to wear special clothing. One shrine even finds a use for the fallen leaves within its precinct.